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Dr.  Rodriguez-Roda Layret, Ignasi

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Research group
Grup de Recerca Laboratori d'Enginyeria Química i Ambiental (LEQUIA)

Brief CV

I currently serve as the Director of the Institute of the Environment and a Senior Member of the Laboratory of Chemical and Environmental Engineering (LEQUiA), research group at the University of Girona. From 2009 to 2021, I also held the position of Senior Researcher and Head of Technologies and Evaluation at the Catalan Institute for Water Research, a distinguished scientific institution within the Network of Research Centers of the Catalan Government.

I have 5 research tracks recognized. My publication record includes 162 documents, as per Scopus Author ID 6602289317 (as of 21/01/2024), with a Hirsch Index of 44 and 5618 citations. I am currently supervising 6 PhD students, having previously supervised 18 PhDs. My involvement extends to over 70 national and European public/private research and technology transfer projects.

I am the inventor of two patents: the first on MBR air-scour control, currently commercialized with GS INIMA, and the second on an osmotic MBR system that integrates forward osmosis with submerged UF/MF. As an entrepreneur, I founded two spin-offs: SISLtech in 2003, focusing on advanced control for wastewater treatment plants (WWTP), which now operates globally as Createch360, and Ecomemb, dedicated to the recovery of RO membranes.

My research expertise lies in water and wastewater treatment. Beginning my research journey in the 1990s, I focused on the optimization of biological wastewater treatment processes, particularly in areas with unclear operational mechanisms such as solids separation issues, foaming, and rising sludge in activated sludge systems. Initially adopting a classical chemical engineering approach (modeling, optimization, control), I quickly recognized the need for additional tools to extract knowledge from incomplete databases. This led me to delve into artificial intelligence, employing both soft computing techniques and knowledge and case-based reasoning systems. I became an early adopter of AI and digitalization in water management, an area that, while commonplace among leading water companies today, was virtually unexplored in urban water cycle management at the close of the 20th century.

My active research has encompassed numerous national and international projects, focusing on developing Decision Support Systems and Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis for the operation, design, and selection of alternative treatment technologies in water and wastewater management. Concurrently, I have explored the application of membrane technologies in water treatment, including membrane bioreactors, forward osmosis, and other methods for wastewater treatment and reuse. Collaborating with ICRA, I have also investigated the degradation mechanisms of pharmaceuticals and micropollutants in water and wastewater treatment systems.

Presently, my interest has shifted towards the potential benefits of implementing nature-based solutions in urban areas to address contemporary and future societal and environmental challenges. This involves examining water-related aspects of urban planning across various scales and socio-geographical contexts.

I have 5 teaching tracks recognized by the Spanish Government + Catalan Government (1998-2003-2008-2013-2018). I am an active member of the teaching innovation networks of the University on problem-based learning and on collaborative on-line international learning methodologies.

A significant milestone in my academic journey is the creation and implementation of the Water Resources Science & Technology MSc at the University of Girona in 2018, the first master's program worldwide in this field to employ 100% problem-based learning.

Throughout my academic career, I have been committed to contributing knowledge back to society, particularly in supporting vulnerable communities in developing countries. Aligned with SDG #6, I have participated in several development cooperation, WASH, and capacity-building on higher education projects in Africa (Senegal), South America (Colombia, El Salvador), Asia (Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam), and the Caribbean (Haiti).

I have 1 management track recognized by the Spanish Government (2019), due to several management positions at the University of Girona. I also have numerous international research stays during all the stages of my academic career (at the University of Edinburgh (Scotland), Joanneum Research Institute (Austria), University of California (Berkeley, USA), and Illinois Institute of Technology (Chicago, USA)).

My current research projects are: C-newtral, Life4Zoo, Acting4water, HADES, Clepsidra and D-pattern. I am also director of the Digitalization and Water security Catedra (INCIBE).

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